May 5, 2009

Recovery Act Oversight

  • Jerry Ellig

    Research Professor, George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center
Key materials
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Summary

Reliable performance measurement requires application of the scientific method to control for various factors that affect desired outcomes. Only by controlling for other variables can we determine how much of an observed result was actually caused by a federal program or a change in federal spending.

Consequently, it is especially gratifying to see the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee taking such a strong interest in Recovery Act oversight. Outcome-oriented performance measurement isn't just a good idea; it's the law. The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) requires federal agencies to produce strategic plans with performance measures, annual performance plans with performance goals, and annual performance reports that measure progress toward those goals. Measures are supposed to track the agencies' "outputs, service levels and outcomes."

Dr. Ellig's responses to Rep. Broun's questions after the testimony